Saudi Arabia seeks to build a special defense industry at a great speed and is ready to look beyond its traditional Western allies to help it in achieving this goal.
The Arabian business website posted a report, translated by the Riyadh Post, confirming that, "The Crown Prince is seeking to settle the arms industry in the kingdom, which, for decades, was a preferred agent for arms sellers, especially those of the United States,"
The report adds that Prince Mohammed bin Salman set an ambitious target for this plan. Half of Saudi Arabia's domestic purchases are expected to be made locally by 2030, out of about 2 percent today.
The report also notes that Saudi Arabia will need partners to achieve this goal, which means great opportunities for Western companies that participated heavily in an arms exhibition in Riyadh this week.
The same report adds that "American and European governments will have to sign technology transfer agreements for Saudi Arabia to maintain their relationship with the kingdom, and if they are reluctant to do so, then the Saudis have other options."
This comes after Riyadh signed a deal to buy the Russian S-400 air defense system, under a deal that would allow Saudi Arabia to manufacture related products in the kingdom.
The probability of signing more of these agreements raises the concern of US policymakers about the loss of a historical ally in favor of Russia and China.
"We will make an accurate assessment of what our partners can do at the negotiating table," said Andreas Schwer, CEO of the Saudi military industries.
The former official of the German defense group added, "We will not hesitate to go to second-tier suppliers or other potential partners. The kingdom can end up with other partners and with American participation.”
According to the report, Saudi Arabia plans to build its defense industry after allocating 210 billion riyals ($ 56 billion) to military expenditure in 2018.